The COVID-19 Project provides support to Indonesia Customs in enhancing emergency preparedness

22 March 2023

From 13 to 17 March 2023, the Indonesia Customs Administration hosted a national workshop to improve its ability to respond efficiently to disruptive events.  The workshop was delivered in Jakarta by the COVID-19 Project, funded by the Government of Japan, as part of its capacity-building activities to foster the ability of WCO Members to tackle unpredictable scenarios such as natural disasters and infectious diseases.

The initiative brought together more than 35 participants representing Customs and other government agencies.  It was an opportunity to review WCO instruments and tools relevant to disaster relief and to discuss with stakeholders the challenges, potential solutions and mechanisms to improve cooperation in the event of a disaster.

Sessions included both theoretical knowledge and practical exercises.  Participants analyzed WCO instruments and tools to tackle natural disasters, such as the Revised Kyoto Convention Annex J5, the Istanbul Convention Annex B9 and the 2011 Council resolution on the role of Customs in disaster relief.  They also had the opportunity to learn more about the WCO Guidelines on disaster management and supply chain continuity, a document that the Secretariat issued in 2021 to assist Members in overcoming the challenges stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic according to the latest and most effective operational readiness best practices.

The meeting also allocated ample time to the collective drafting of a Guide detailing the Standards Operating Procedures (SOPs) to be triggered by Customs in case of emergencies.  This document will help Customs officers working at entry points to ensure the rapid and lawful facilitation of relief shipments and inform the humanitarian community about the requirements and steps for importing relief goods and equipment, thus smoothening overall coordination during assistance operations.

During the last two days of the event, the validity and functioning of the SOPs were tested in the framework of a scenario-based discussion staging a disaster scenario.  The training was beneficial in identifying potential bottlenecks and ensuring the efficiency of the newly drafted procedures.

Through this workshop, participants were able to analyze the national legal framework relevant to emergencies, make recommendations to streamline and harmonize procedures for expediting the clearance of humanitarian aid, improve the preparedness of Customs officers working on the ground to avoid supply chain disruptions and delays in case of unpredictable scenarios and ensure business continuity.